Medical assisting can be a rewarding, fulfilling career, with the opportunity to help those in need, and opportunities for career advancement. This is particularly true in the fast-paced primary care environment of Federally Qualified Health Centers that provide care to underserved populations and patients with complex health conditions. Upon graduation from the National Institute for Medical Assistant Advancement’s (NIMAA’s) 8-month training program, students are well prepared to enter this kind of high performing primary care setting.
Medical assistants are typically among the first people patients interact with in the exam room. They play a vital role in ensuring that the day-to-day operations run smoothly and that patients receive the care they need. Medical assistants can ensure that a patient has an effective visit, understands the after-visit summary, and makes patients feel truly cared for. This one-on-one connection can make a direct impact on their patients’ lives.
NIMAA’s Curriculum Director and Lead Instructor, Susan Klos, says, “Medical assistants have the time to connect with their patients and provide them with comfort, an open heart, and a mind to hear what they need to say. They do more than check a patient’s vital signs and schedule tests; they are a comfort and advocate for their patients. When I started out as a medical assistant, I had a patient who had to have a physical every three to six months because he was on the heart transplant list. I had to call his insurance every two months to make sure his potential heart transplant was approved so if the heart came about there was no issue with him paying for it.”
Ms. Klos added, “NIMAA provides students with an innovative way of getting their education. We give them all the tools that they need to be a medical assistant that any other program would give them—everything from how to do vital signs to assisting the provider in procedures. We go above and beyond to teach them that patient-centered team-based care approach so when they enter the field they’re already entering with that knowledge to jump right in and be an active part of the team and provide care in any healthcare setting. ”
From the front office to the exam room, medical assistants are often the backbone of any successful medical practice. They support the entire team by keeping the lines of communication open between the patient and clinic staff. They enhance the patient’s experience during their visit. They can even help ensure greater access to care by ensuring that health insurance providers receive claims information in a quick and correct manner.
A career in medical assisting lays the foundation for various exciting pathways, such as advanced clinical work (e.g., lead MA, nursing, provider), behavioral health, training, or administrative leadership. Being a medical assistant can be the start of a long and satisfying career of helping others.